Realm, The

Image from Steve Bowers
Anteus, a brown dwarf in the Realm, is surrounded by a sunline which focuses light and heat onto its various moons for terraforming purposes

Major Deeper Covenant civilization cluster located about 750 light-years to rimward of Sol. The Realm constitutes one of the largest centers of Deeper civilization in the Civilized Galaxy.

First discovered by a Deeper survey swarm in 4715, the area of space that would eventually become the Realm contained some twenty-four brown dwarf and jovian class worlds (20 brown dwarfs, 4 jovians) all within a single cubic light-year volume. Despite their relatively close proximity, these objects are all so dim that none of them are visible from any of the others using normal human baseline vision. While the exact origins of the region and its unusual density of protostellar bodies are lost to history, its future potential was obvious.

Moving quickly, the Deeper Covenant first laid claim to and then colonized the volume. Setting up beamrider links, fusion reactor swarms, and large scale nanoforges, they began a process of development that would continue for the next several thousand years. The result of their efforts would be not only the creation of one of the major civilizational centers of the Rimward Hinterregions but also the springboard for expansion of the Beamrider Network across some 500 light-years and 17,000 new systems.

In the Current Era, the Realm encompasses twenty-three bodies within its environs, includes no less than 15 beam-line connections to the greater Beamrider Network, and contains a wormhole link (800m gauge, constructed from one of the 20 brown dwarfs in the original complex as a gift from the god Orion for reasons that remain unclear) to the nearby system of Dam Tellion some fifty light-years distant. Within the Realm itself, the so-called Starlight Express mass-beam network connects all parts of the complex and allows rapid transport between each of its components. The components of the Realm have themselves been developed in a number of different ways including:

Sunlines and terraformed moons: Nine of the brown dwarfs within the Realm (Anteus, Eris, Chalphon, Taszac, Yom, Entephaeus, Roud, Wa'sha, and Ka'Te) have been seeded with self-replicating fusion reactors which have generated equatorial sunlines around each body. Illuminated by these sources of light and warmth, the moons and asteroids surrounding each dwarf (74 in all) have been made habitable, either by the use of worldhousing technology or more 'conventional' terraforming methods.

Supra-planetary shells: Four of the brown dwarves (T'Kosh, Esa, Makatara, and Whorl) are entirely enclosed bysupra-planetary shells supporting artificial biospheres each hundreds of times larger than those of a terrestrial planet. In addition, two of the jovian class worlds in the region (M'zarch and Kel) have been partially enclosed, one by a supra-planetary habitat ring, the other by sixteen mass-beam supported habitation plates spaced equidistantly around the planet. Illumination for all six habitats is provided by networks of conversion powered artificial suns and arrays of reflecting mirrors arranged in multiple orbits to ensure the generation of a regular day/night cycle.

Deep space orbital bands: Five of the brown dwarfs (Rassa, Equa, Gravaus, T'chai, and B'rana) and one of the jovians (Shaka) are encircled by massive habitat swarms. Rather than using fusion sunlines to illuminate the orbital plane where the bands are placed, each habitat is powered by onboard conversion reactors driving central illuminator rods and similar systems. Hydrogen for the reactors is mined from the upper atmosphere of each body by a system of mass-stream supported skyhooks and magnetic launchers.

Image from Steve Bowers
Hightower, a jovian world surrounded by megascale dynamically supported towers.

The last two bodies within the Realm, Exa and Hightower have been modified in a more idiosyncratic manner. Exa, the last brown dwarf in the system, has been entirely stellified and surrounded by a Matrioshka micronode. Its multiple shells of computronium support some ten trillion virtual, ai, and upload based sophonts in a vast and ever shifting array of cybercosmic environments as well as operating as the computational core of the entire Realm.

The Hightower complex is positioned closest to the Deep Gate wormhole connecting the Realm with the rest of the Civilized Galaxy. Its macrostructural towers are home to 300 billion corporeal and 100 billion virtual sophonts.

Total population of the entire Realm complex is some twelve trillion sophont beings ranging from modosophonts up to the Second Singularity level.

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Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner

Initially published on 14 September 2009.